Because animals cannot speak for themselves, they unknowingly relinquish control over their stories and imperatives to us. In the particular case of bears, we aggressively presume their consent in constructing our system of national parks, a most complex theoretical intersection of romanticism, nationalism, environmentalism, commerce and nostalgia. This video work, titled Bears, explores how we enlist bears to stand in for human concerns. Stripped of all power—of comprehension, of action, of life itself—these taxidermied bears in the Banff Park Museum cannot participate in their fate. The sole power remaining to them with the passing of the years—yet one that retains a stirring potency—is the gaze of their unseeing glass eyes.
Looped, single-channel video
© 2010 by Edwin Janzen. All rights reserved.